On Tuesday, I borrowed Gray Lady Down: What the Decline and Fall of the New York Times Means for America, by William McGowan. McGowan writes a regular column for the Wall Street Journal and also appears as a commentator on a variety of media outlets (including both MSNBC and Fox). This is a sequel to his earlier book, Coloring the News, which I have not read but will see about borrowing once I’ve finished this one.
Gray Lady Down reminds me of just why I don’t take the Times seriously anymore. The focus is primarily on “Pinch” Sulzberger’s reign as publisher of the paper. His father (“Punch”) may not have had conservative political leanings, but he was much more even-handed than his son. Junior has taken the paper so far to the Left that many of us who once did consider it the “Paper of Record” now wouldn’t use it to line the bottom of a bird cage.
After the first few chapters, which focus on the tenure of Abe Rosenthal and the transition from Punch to Pinch as publisher, we are given concrete examples of the political correctness that is rampant in both the news and opinion sections of the paper. I remember some of the incidents McGowan brings up and am grateful to the non-mainstream media for my knowledge of these events. I certainly would not have known about them had I relied only the New York Times for my news. The Duke lacrosse case is prominently discussed, and I am, frankly, appalled at the coverage the Times gave this case.
All in all, it’s an interesting read that I highly recommend.